We’ve taken a break from blogging since we aren’t on Lodos right now, but we have received a lot of questions about where we are, what we are doing and when we’ll be back on the boat, or in the states, so I decided to take each question as a separate blog post – watch this space!
We sailed to San Carlos, Mexico in early/mid June and spent a couple of weeks getting the boat ready to be taken out of the water. We left Lodos in a ship yard there, “on the hard” (out of the water) because we needed to finish some work on the boat that we never got around to before leaving San Diego. We also had to redo work that was done improperly in San Diego – hopefully the last of the projects that all have had to be redone in the past 6 months+.
It’s hurricane season in Mexico. It officially starts in June and ends in November, but truly, the most dangerous time is August-September (when the water warms above 80+ degrees), so we knew we wanted to be out of there this season. We took the time to do some traveling this summer and see friends. We went to our cousin’s wedding in Dallas (beautiful!), and we stopped to see friends in London, Oxford, Paris and Amsterdam.
Meeting Franck in Paris
Jodi finds her Churros at the Eiffel Tower
4 years ago, we bought a house in Turkey. It’s a tiny house (1 bed + 1 bath with a loft), in an “off the grid” community, in a remote new village on the Aegean Sea along the Datça peninsula. It has all the challenges of new (cheap) construction, plus layer in remote access, very little internet, spotty electricity (100% solar), and very rocky soil that we are trying to completely transform (sometimes through sheer will & grit alone).
All that said, the houses and community aren’t the reason we bought a place here. It’s the landscape and beauty that surrounds us. We are butted against mountains to the East that look something like Halfdome in Yosemite or Lake Tahoe in California and to the West, the shimmering blue of the Aegean – with the Greek Island of Kos facing directly in front of us. We are ~1 hour from the nearest city (However, there is a small village 20+ minutes from us.), and probably the only thing that keeps this place from major development is the winding, dirt-pitted road you must take through the olive and almond trees planted into the mountainsides. The food is amazing, and the cost of living is cheap – cheaper everyday as the Lira continues to fall…
It’s the kind of place people want to go to write a book, paint, read, and escape.
The flora isn’t diverse, but it is lush. We are frequented by goats who local shepherds still graze and let roam freely. We have seen owls and wild boar, bats, grouse and deer. The night is pitch black, the stars bright, and the beach is pebbly (not sand), which I much prefer. It’s safe and quiet, and all of the neighbors know each other – we look after one another, share tea and treats and stories – the way it should be in a community.
Our languid days are filled with equal parts work (professional work: Jodi is consulting & Kirby is starting a new business), work on the house and yard as well as swimming, hiking, reading, cooking and sleeping. There is nothing to buy, nothing to schedule and not much to do.
Living in a developing country has its drawbacks of course, and we find it quite manic some days, but its lesson is to be open to what may come, be open to changing your plans, and realize that you have very little control over the outcomes of many things here – it’s a country and place that forces the zen out of you.
As we get ready to leave Mexico and leave Lodos for the summer and hurricane season, it’s a bittersweet feeling. We are excited about the next months of adventures that await, but I know we’ll miss our daily life on the water. In fact, we already do. It’s been great to leave from San Carlos, as it’s not a place we particularly like, so we aren’t sad to leave.
We once thought we’d spend one season in the Sea of Cortez and keep heading head south, but now, I’m really happy that we’ll be here for another year! I haven’t gotten enough of its beauty and rich rich wildlife.
I will especially miss:
Being at anchor reading, thinking and relaxing.
Seeing dolphins, whales, turtles and mobula rays almost daily.
Guacamole and churros.
The routine of living and working on the boat.
Sleeping 8 hours at a stretch – maybe for the first time in my life.
Playing games and splashing around in the clear blue sea.
The Mexican people & their generous, kind hospitality.
This ~5 months has raced by. We’ve learned so much, had so much fun, didn’t sink the boat, and we didn’t die. So, yeah, I guess it was a successful season. 😉
This week, we’re off to Dallas to celebrate a wedding, then onto London, Paris, Amsterdam and Turkey – adventures abound! Join us somewhere or consider joining us on Lodos when we get her back into the water in Mexico!
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Santa Rosalia was copper mining city for many years, and today, it’s also a jumping off point to cross the Sea of Cortez. With the shortest distance between two points (74nm), we will leave this town Thursday for San Carlos, on the mainland of Mexico – ending our Baja sailing season for 2018 and getting ready for hurricane season. The copper mining has left its mark with trains and mining equipment which was used to bring timber here from the Pacific NW – nearly all of the town and houses here are made from wood, which is highly unusual for the Baja.
This is our first marina since La Paz, over 3 weeks ago. We love being “on the hook” (at anchor), but it’s nice to pop into a marina every now and then to have a proper shower, do laundry, have endless supplies of electricity and explore a town.
There is a large French influence here, and it’s reflected in the architecture, the church and the bakery. The church was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel) for the Paris world fair in the late 1800s, then disassembled and shipped across the ocean to land here in this little town. It’s hard to see in the pictures, but it’s 100% steel and the internal ceiling looks like a boat with its trusses and support structures.
The bakery has delicious breads and baguettes – Mexican sweet bread cooked in 100+ year old wood ovens in a French style. Outstanding and delicious. (I had a churro here that was divine, too).
The bird life in the marina is outstanding – herons, pelicans, osprey, cormorants, terns and egrets are everywhere. I saw my first yellow-crowned night heron here – a lovely little heron with amber eyes and plumey feathers.
Continuing north, we found several great spots to anchor and tuck in while the SW winds were blowing. We arrived in San Evaristo – a tiny fishing village – to spend a night in a protected cove. There was a restaurant, and although it said it was open, it was closed. We asked the locals about it, and they said (as they usually do), “maybe mañana?” They have an honor trash bin, which means you can drop your trash and recycling off while leaving a tip – money just sits out in the open, and no one takes it.
This is Mexico 🙂
The small tienda (store) had a few things, and we bought delicious pears that were just delivered from the US – a real treat!
Agua Verde (May 11-13)
We sailed north to Agua Verde on a strong S wind which pushed us into a beautiful cove where we spent a couple of nights. The green water against a backdrop of mountains and white sand beaches is quintessential Baja and quite hard to describe the peacefulness.
We met quite a few other cruisers there and had an impromptu BBQ/bonfire on the beach. The next morning, we took a 5 mile hike up into the sea cliffs to see cave paintings/petroglyphs with incredible sea views, an ancient cemetery and a secret little oasis with fresh water and palms – it reminded me of one of our favorite hikesjust outside of Palm Springs.
In Agua Verde, they have a small restaurant run by a start-up all female co-op funded by the Mexican government where women and young girls learn how to cook, run a business and serve customers. It was a great little spot, and we were happy to give them our business. When we ordered something that they didn’t have on the menu (e.g. beer or soda), they just popped over to the store nearby to buy it for us.
There is a small tienda here that sells a large selection of fresh fruits and veg as well as local goat cheese – all of the goats live free in the mountains and you can hear the tinkle of their bells or their sweet bleating as they climb up and down the hills in search of their next meal.
Puerto Escondido (May 13-17)
I had work to do Monday morning, so we were seeking a spot with wifi. We heard that it could be found at an anchorage in Los Candeleros with a large resort nearby, but we didn’t want to risk it, so we went into Puerto Escondido, a hurricane hole just south of Loreto (confirmed later with friends that wifi signal is in fact strong there!).
On our way there, we had one of the most rewarding wildlife days since we have been sailing. There wasn’t much wind, so we were motor sailing, and we happened through a huge pod of bottlenose dolphins – hundreds of them swimming and jumping from west to east, so we turned the boat around and paralleled their path so as not to bother them but in the hopes that they would join our boat (which of course they did). Dolphins seem to love interacting with people. They enjoy swimming in the bow or wake of the boat, but our observations are that they stay with you longer if they can see you – I always jump to the bow of the boat and wave to them, talk to them, and they are always on the side of the boat that we are on – when we move, they move. They are simply the loveliest creatures alive, and with a brain larger than ours, and language more complex, I’m almost certain that they are more intelligent than humans. <PLEASE DON’T PAY TO SWIM WITH THEM & DON’T VISIT A DOLPHINARIUM>
The dolphins swam with us for about 30-45 minutes, swooping in and out, jumping and spraying us with water from their blowholes as they surfaced next to us. They are such adroit swimmers that when we sped up and turned, they sensed our movement before we made it, and with a flick of their tails were quickly out of the path of the boat. Immediately after we turned away from the dolphin pod, a baby humpback whale surfaced, slapping his tail on the surface of the water.
Then, 10 minutes later, we were greeted by a large manta ray feeding at the surface, gliding in and around the boat as we slowed, which then caused us to see 3 pilot whales just off the starboard side of our bow. It was an incredibly rewarding day and reminded me of all we have to be grateful for on this planet and how much responsibility we have to protect it!
Puerto Escondido is tucked into a hard to see harbor, protected on nearly 4 sides of mountains and low lying land – if you needed to escape from a storm or hurricane, this is just about the best place to do so. There is an office with wifi and meeting room, a restaurant, a small market, and an honor laundry where you pay the office for how many loads you do. They have a small chandlery and haul out as well as a small tour office for diving.
The bay is a field of mooring balls – easy to pick up and tie off. For those of you who have never done it before, you simply pick up the line in the water with a boat hook, tie off one end of your dock line to a cleat on the bow of the boat and then string the dock line through the loop on the mooring ball and go around the bow to create a V (or bridle)
and then tie off the other end on the other side of the boat on a cleat. We doubled tied ours with two docklines just in case. We asked the office when they had been last inspected, and they assured us that they were safely attached and secured.
We like being on mooring balls – it’s easier and more restful than being at anchor and yet you are still free and clear of other boats and people to have a quiet experience. There are supposed to be 117 mooring balls (1-40 for boats under 40’, 41-112 for boats over 40’, and higher numbers for really large boats), but we didn’t see that many – we tied up at #106.
If you want to visit Loreto, this is the best place to stay and leave your boat, as Loreto doesn’t have protected anchorage or a marina. And, if you want to get into Loreto, the best thing to do is arrange a car rental. The car rental will drop off your car at the marina office (Alamo) and pick up the car when you are done. We had a Volkswagen with A/C for $40/day including taxes and fees. If you get a taxi to take you to town and back, it will cost almost double that rate. With a car, you can load up on supplies and run any errands. We did some sightseeing but also ran some errands.
The mission and plaza are the highlights here, as is the Malecon. You only need a couple of hours to see the town, and it’s lovely with everything you’ll need to provision from an Autozone to grocery stores. You can reload/recharge your SIM cards in several markets (including Big markets) as there isn’t an OXXO in town. There is also a farmer’s market on Sunday mornings in the plaza, and the BEST bread in town can be found at Pan Que Pan – delicious and light with a staff that is friendly and speaks English. You can also enjoy their fresh juices named after Superheros.
We were looking for a place to anchor and hide out on our way north with protection from the Coromuels (SW wind, similar to Lodos in Turkey), and we stopped at a national park called Isla Partida, which is just north of Espirito Santo, another national park. As we approached, there were leaping Mobula rays all around us and as we got closer into the island, we noticed so many turtles. I joked to Kirby that this place seemed to be just “lousy with them”! 🙂
After anchoring here for a couple of days, it turns out that we were right.
Isla Partida and Caleta Partida (our anchorage) is a sunken crater created from an ancient volcano. It’s a beautiful lagoon with a sand spit that you can dingy across in high tide, with numerous sea caves.
The turtles are magical here. Dozens of them circled and swam near our boat each day – the sound they make when they surface is similar to an old man coming up for air after being below water for a long time. We watched a research group out of La Paz operate here, too; they have a camp on the beach with surface nets that they would drop and then check multiple times a day. We watched them haul out turtles, take them to camp, measure and tag them before releasing them. Each time they would see one in the net, a cheer would go up. To me, it’s proof that when you protect a place, nature can rebound immensely!
There are a couple of fish camps here, too. There is a little old man on his fishing boat (panga) that makes his rounds each day asking for stuff from the boaters. Yesterday, he asked us for triple A batteries and today, a gallon of water. Paying the karma forward, we happily give these fisherman something and hope it helps them look kindly upon the people that use the waters that they claim as home.
Next post(s): San Evaristo, Agua Verde (30-50 miles north) & Puerto Escondido.